Top 50 Scouting Report: #33 1B Lucas Duda

The Mets selected the first baseman in the 7th round of the 2007 MLB Draft out of the University of Southern California. During his stay in Brooklyn, he got stronger as the season went on, showing skills as a good contact hitter with developing power. He topped off his rookie season with an excellent performance in Hawaii. Here is a scouting report on Cyclones' rookie Lucas Duda.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Lucas Duda
Position: First Base
DOB: February 3, 1986
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 225
Bats: Left
Throws: Right

As he looks back on his rookie season, there are plenty of reasons why Lucas Duda is feeling very confident in his abilities and his performance. He came to Brooklyn fresh off his final year at USC in which he played 53 games and hit .280 with seven home runs—and his numbers only improved from there.

With the Cyclones this summer, Duda hit a robust .299 with a .398 on-base percentage, both good enough to rank in the top 20 in the league, with added extra-base power. Yet it was not easy for him right out of the gate as he struggled through the season's first two weeks. But once the game slowed down, he found success was not too hard to come by.

"I just came into pro ball with an open mind, and just really wanted to soak in what I could learn and get the experience. But in the first couple of weeks, I think I was really nervous and I didn't really have any confidence," he said. "But as the season went on, I got my feet under me and I just got more and more comfortable and my confidence level really went up."

His broad stature and promise of power is what made him an enticing selection for the Mets last June, but it was in those first shaky weeks that Duda and the Brooklyn coaches discovered flaws in his swing that needed to be ironed out. His swing was a touch too long for two reasons, and it prevented him from making solid contact and driving through the ball.

"Part of the trouble I had early on was because of my swing. I wanted to shorten it up, lower my hand position and try to get flat earlier in the zone. Another part of my swing problems was my leg kick. I needed better timing with my leg kick because it was really late. I need my swing to be nice and fluid," he explained.

Duda needs an easy, smooth swing as he builds upon his ability to redirect pitches right back through the box. Though he was pulling the ball too much at times early in the year, the adjustments he made allowed him to return to his natural approach. He is at his best when he does not try to do too much by allowing his hands to do the bulk of the work and not his arms.

In fact, the Brooklyn coaches ingrained it in him by not even allowing him to hit a ball to right field during batting practices. They worked with him on letting the ball get deeper into the strike zone so he would be forced to go the other way. Duda acknowledged that is what really allowed him to stay even.

"I'm always trying to go up the middle with a fastball I can handle. I'm looking to hit line drives, stay even with the pitch and just keep my swing level," he said. "I really focused on hitting the ball when it deep because I wasn't doing that when I first got here. The coaches stressed opposite field over and over. After that, hitting to all fields just became more natural."

The work also gave Duda better understanding and coverage in the strike zone, allowing him to work counts and pick his pitch rather than letting pitchers control at-bats and succumbing to unfavorable counts.

"The work gave me the chance to go after the pitch I want. If I'm looking away, I now have the ability to just go with the pitch at will. Basically, if the pitch is where I'm looking for it, I feel comfortable attacking it and feel that I should drive it well," he said.

He took what he learned during the regular season and excelled with it during his stay in the Hawaiian Winter League. He joined the roster late, and thus appeared in only 15 games, but he made the most of it by hitting a resounding .340 with three home runs, 13 RBI with six doubles. The continued production and maturity is a sign that the big lefty knows how to handle the bat. Better yet, for Duda, it is a sign that confidence can carry him a long way.

"I made a lot of progress in the Instructional League which went really well for me. I did a lot to work the hitch out of my swing and the positive work carried over to Hawaii. I'm feeling really good about the way things are going and it's helping me to do real good things on the field," he explained.

It was a long first season for Duda, but the Mets may have found themselves a legitimate contender at first base as long as his progression keeps moving upward and he keeps improving with each new challenge. Yet, Duda is ready for the tests and long road that await him.

"I had some struggles early, but I learned you can't stay down; you've got to keep moving. I had my bumps but I kept working hard and showed myself that when my confidence is up, my game comes around to where I want it. I know there is a lot of work to be done this off-season and every off-season ahead," he closed.

Year

Team

AVG.

AB

Hits

HR

RBI

R

SB

BB

K

OBP

SLG

2007

Brooklyn

.299

234

70

4

32

32

3

34

45

..398

.462



Batting and Power: Duda is a very solid contact hitter who is adept at driving balls back through middle. His .299 average in Brooklyn is a testament to that skill considering his swing was a work in progress for most of the season. He demonstrates good patience at the plate by not getting too pull-happy, and by earning walks while keeping his strikeouts at a lower total than his slightly long swing may dictate. Though he can drive the ball to the gaps for extra-bases, he still leaves much to be desired out of his home run power given his size and his position. However, as he simplifies his swing and increases his bat speed, his power numbers should increase. The additional power may slightly lower his batting average, but as long as his swing is right, he projects to be a .275-.300 hitter.

Base Running and Speed: Considering his size, Duda has better speed than one would predict. He will not steal any bases with any regularity, but he does have the speed to swipe a bag from time to time. His speed shows its presence more when he is running after contact as he has the ability to leg out triples. He is smart on the bases and will not put himself in a position to be thrown out.

Defense: Duda is stable at first base but still has a good amount of work to do. He throws well and has respectable range, but he did commit six errors which came as a result of his subpar footwork and hard hands. Due to a rotation behind the plate and at first base in Brooklyn last summer, he saw some time in the outfield, but his future definitely projects at his natural position.

Projection: Duda displayed lot of potential at the plate during his rookie season by hitting just shy of .300 with extra-base power in a notoriously pitcher-friendly league As he adds more weight to his sizeable frame, he should continue to add more power and become an even greater threat from the middle of the order. He is the same age as other top first base prospects in the system, but given his years in college, he will need to quickly build more offense to find himself in their company sooner rather than later. However, first he must show he can continue to hit with this season's consistency at the higher levels.

ETA: 2011. Duda will be 22 at the start of next season, and given his age and playing experience, it would be no surprise if the Mets' tested him by placing him in St. Lucie at the start of the 2008 campaign. His ETA could move up a year based on his performance, but this would place him on a pace to move up one level each of the next three seasons before breaking into the big leagues at the start of 2011.


Amazin Clubhouse Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Lucas Duda
\r\nPosition: First Base
\r\nDOB: February 3, 1986
\r\nHeight: 6'4\"
\r\nWeight: 225
\r\nBats: Left
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nAs he looks back on his rookie season, there are plenty of reasons why Lucas Duda is feeling very confident in his abilities and his performance. He came to Brooklyn fresh off his final year at USC in which he played 53 games and hit .280 with seven home runs—and his numbers only improved from there.
\r\n
\r\nWith the Cyclones this summer, Duda hit a robust .299 with a .398 on-base percentage, both good enough to rank in the top 20 in the league, with added extra-base power. Yet it was not easy for him right out of the gate as he struggled through the season's first two weeks. But once the game slowed down, he found success was not too hard to come by.
\r\n
\r\n\"I just came into pro ball with an open mind, and just really wanted to soak in what I could learn and get the experience. But in the first couple of weeks, I think I was really nervous and I didn't really have any confidence,\" he said. \"But as the season went on, I got my feet under me and I just got more and more comfortable and my confidence level really went up.\"
\r\n
\r\nHis broad stature and promise of power is what made him an enticing selection for the Mets last June, but it was in those first shaky weeks that Duda and the Brooklyn coaches discovered flaws in his swing that needed to be ironed out. His swing was a touch too long for two reasons, and it prevented him from making solid contact and driving through the ball.
\r\n
\r\n\"Part of the trouble I had early on was because of my swing. I wanted to shorten it up, lower my hand position and try to get flat earlier in the zone. Another part of my swing problems was my leg kick. I needed better timing with my leg kick because it was really late. I need my swing to be nice and fluid,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\nDuda needs an easy, smooth swing as he builds upon his ability to redirect pitches right back through the box. Though he was pulling the ball too much at times early in the year, the adjustments he made allowed him to return to his natural approach. He is at his best when he does not try to do too much by allowing his hands to do the bulk of the work and not his arms.
\r\n
\r\nIn fact, the Brooklyn coaches ingrained it in him by not even allowing him to hit a ball to right field during batting practices. They worked with him on letting the ball get deeper into the strike zone so he would be forced to go the other way. Duda acknowledged that is what really allowed him to stay even.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm always trying to go up the middle with a fastball I can handle. I'm looking to hit line drives, stay even with the pitch and just keep my swing level,\" he said. \"I really focused on hitting the ball when it deep because I wasn't doing that when I first got here. The coaches stressed opposite field over and over. After that, hitting to all fields just became more natural.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe work also gave Duda better understanding and coverage in the strike zone, allowing him to work counts and pick his pitch rather than letting pitchers control at-bats and succumbing to unfavorable counts.
\r\n
\r\n\"The work gave me the chance to go after the pitch I want. If I'm looking away, I now have the ability to just go with the pitch at will. Basically, if the pitch is where I'm looking for it, I feel comfortable attacking it and feel that I should drive it well,\" he said.
\r\n
\r\nHe took what he learned during the regular season and excelled with it during his stay in the Hawaiian Winter League. He joined the roster late, and thus appeared in only 15 games, but he made the most of it by hitting a resounding .340 with three home runs, 13 RBI with six doubles. The continued production and maturity is a sign that the big lefty knows how to handle the bat. Better yet, for Duda, it is a sign that confidence can carry him a long way.
\r\n
\r\n\"I made a lot of progress in the Instructional League which went really well for me. I did a lot to work the hitch out of my swing and the positive work carried over to Hawaii. I'm feeling really good about the way things are going and it's helping me to do real good things on the field,\" he explained.
\r\n
\r\nIt was a long first season for Duda, but the Mets may have found themselves a legitimate contender at first base as long as his progression keeps moving upward and he keeps improving with each new challenge. Yet, Duda is ready for the tests and long road that await him.
\r\n
\r\n\"I had some struggles early, but I learned you can't stay down; you've got to keep moving. I had my bumps but I kept working hard and showed myself that when my confidence is up, my game comes around to where I want it. I know there is a lot of work to be done this off-season and every off-season ahead,\" he closed.
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n AVG.

\r\n

\r\n AB

\r\n

\r\n Hits

\r\n

\r\n HR

\r\n

\r\n RBI

\r\n

R

\r\n

\r\n SB

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

K

\r\n

\r\n OBP

\r\n

\r\n SLG

\r\n

\r\n 2007

\r\n

\r\n Brooklyn

\r\n

\r\n .299

\r\n

\r\n 234

\r\n

\r\n 70

\r\n

\r\n 4

\r\n

\r\n 32

\r\n

\r\n 32

\r\n

\r\n 3

\r\n

\r\n 34

\r\n

\r\n 45

\r\n

\r\n ..398

\r\n

\r\n .462


\r\n
\r\nBatting and Power: Duda is a very solid contact hitter who is adept at driving balls back through middle. His .299 average in Brooklyn is a testament to that skill considering his swing was a work in progress for most of the season. He demonstrates good patience at the plate by not getting too pull-happy, and by earning walks while keeping his strikeouts at a lower total than his slightly long swing may dictate. Though he can drive the ball to the gaps for extra-bases, he still leaves much to be desired out of his home run power given his size and his position. However, as he simplifies his swing and increases his bat speed, his power numbers should increase. The additional power may slightly lower his batting average, but as long as his swing is right, he projects to be a .275-.300 hitter.
\r\n
\r\nBase Running and Speed: Considering his size, Duda has better speed than one would predict. He will not steal any bases with any regularity, but he does have the speed to swipe a bag from time to time. His speed shows its presence more when he is running after contact as he has the ability to leg out triples. He is smart on the bases and will not put himself in a position to be thrown out.
\r\n
\r\nDefense: Duda is stable at first base but still has a good amount of work to do. He throws well and has respectable range, but he did commit six errors which came as a result of his subpar footwork and hard hands. Due to a rotation behind the plate and at first base in Brooklyn last summer, he saw some time in the outfield, but his future definitely projects at his natural position.
\r\n
\r\nProjection: Duda displayed lot of potential at the plate during his rookie season by hitting just shy of .300 with extra-base power in a notoriously pitcher-friendly league As he adds more weight to his sizeable frame, he should continue to add more power and become an even greater threat from the middle of the order. He is the same age as other top first base prospects in the system, but given his years in college, he will need to quickly build more offense to find himself in their company sooner rather than later. However, first he must show he can continue to hit with this season's consistency at the higher levels.
\r\n
\r\nETA: 2011. Duda will be 22 at the start of next season, and given his age and playing experience, it would be no surprise if the Mets' tested him by placing him in St. Lucie at the start of the 2008 campaign. His ETA could move up a year based on his performance, but this would place him on a pace to move up one level each of the next three seasons before breaking into the big leagues at the start of 2011.
\r\n
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